Vat­i­can bank un­der fresh scru­tiny

The Pak Banker - - Company& -

VAT­I­CAN CITY: Vat­i­can Bank is un­der fresh scru­tiny to­day af­ter al­le­ga­tions of money-laun­der­ing caused po­lice to con­fis­cate £19 mil­lion from an ac­count held with the pri­vate bank.

On 21 Septem­ber, a team from the fi­nan­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion arm of the Ital­ian po­lice seized the £ 19 mil­lion from an ac­count at the Vat­i­can Bank due to the bank's re­fusal to com­ply with money-laun­der­ing laws by pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion on the ori­gin and des­ti­na­tion of the amount.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors also sus­pect mem­bers of the Vat­i­can-based clergy may have been act­ing as front men for the Mafia and cor­rupt busi­ness­men. Doc­u­ments high­light two un­re­ported trans­ac­tions, the first in 2009 us­ing a false name and in­volv­ing a large sum and the sec­ond in 2010 in­volv­ing a with­drawal of 650,000 eu­ros with­out dis­clo­sure of the money's fi­nal des­ti­na­tion.

It ap­pears the bulk of the first amount, 20 mil­lion eu­ros, was headed for a JP Mor­gan branch in Frank­furt, with the rest go­ing to an ac­count held at the Ital­ian Banca del Fu­cino.

Pros­e­cu­tors al­lege reg­u­la­tions stat­ing for­eign banks must in­form the Ital­ian au­thor­i­ties of the ori­gins of funds trans­ferred were ig­nored by the banks in­volved, which are at present de­clin­ing to com­ment.

The seizure of as­sets is be­ing re­ferred to by the Vat­i­can as a 'mis­un­der­stand­ing' with its of­fi­cials ex­pect­ing the mat­ter to be re­solved at an early date.

How­ever, pros­e­cu­tors state they are in pos­ses­sion of doc­u­ments which clearly show the bank de­lib­er­ately flouted strict money-laun­der­ing leg­is­la­tion by hid­ing the ori­gin, des­ti­na­tion and own­er­ship of the money.

The al­le­ga­tions come at a bad time for the Vat­i­can, no stranger to fi­nan­cial and Mafi­alinked scan­dals. -PB News

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